The Blair Witch Project is 20 years’ old – can you believe it?

The found footage movie about three missing students – Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams – was released on July 14th 1999 and not only pulled off one of the greatest hoaxes of the ’90s, but also kick-started a franchise.

That franchise has encompassed movies, fan films, computer games, comics, books, and a rather significant faux-documentary.

And you just thought there was one film, didn’t you?

Well, if you’re new to The Blair Witch, hopefully this post will be useful, most notably because it answers the question ‘how many Blair Witch movies are there?’. It also provides a viewing order for the movies so you can work your way through the series the best way possible.

Let’s get started.

Documentary order

Image: ©Artisan Entertainment

The first viewing order keeps things simple (before the sequels complicated things) and concentrates on the material released during 1999. This includes The Blair Witch Project AND Curse of the Blair Witch – two ‘documentaries’ set in and around the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland.

To be clear, The Blair Witch Project was a docu-movie that was released theatrically. Curse of the Blair Witch was a TV documentary that was not released on the big screen, but was designed as a tie-in to the film.

So, what was Curse of the Blair Witch?

Curse of the Blair Witch was a faux documentary that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel a few days before The Blair Witch Project arrived in cinemas. The purpose of the ‘documentary’ was to make people believe that The Blair Witch Project was real, and to help promote the forthcoming movie.

Utilising clips from the movie, as well as soundbites from ‘real people’, Curse told the story behind the supposedly ‘real life’ events of The Blair Witch. It even went so far as to include family members of the characters featured in the film – although just like the characters in the movie, the family members were also actors.

Curse of the Blair Witch crafted a tale which, if watched ahead of The Blair Witch Project, made the film seem even more real.

If you choose to watch this viewing order, then you should see the ‘documentaries’ as follows:

  • Curse of the Blair Witch (1999)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Now I know what you’re thinking – how did anyone believe any of these documentaries to be real?!

Well, they did.

Today, it might seem odd that anyone could believe Curse of the Blair Witch or The Blair Witch Project to be true, but back during 1999 it was a different time. People didn’t have 24/7 access to the internet, and they weren’t on the look out for ‘fake news’.

Both Curse of the Blair Witch and The Blair Witch Project were very, very convincing pieces of film making. Plus the marketing that surrounded the Blair Witch story was simply spot on.

OK, onto viewing order No. 2.

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The ‘real’ Blair Witch order

Image: ©Artisan Entertainment

Due to the financial success of The Blair Witch Project, a sequel was rushed into production. That sequel would be Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (aka The Blair Witch Project 2).

Keen to try something completely different, Book of Shadows discredited the events of The Blair Witch Project, suggesting it was all faked (which of course it was). The idea with the sequel was to present ‘the real’ story of the Blair Witch, through a much scarier tale.

Unfortunately, by discrediting the original movie, Book of Shadows completely annoyed fans. It also failed to catch the imagination of general audiences and flopped on arrival.

As Book of Shadows was not a financial success it is largely forgotten. However, if you want to watch the story of the ‘real’ Blair Witch, then you should watch the films in this order:

  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)*
  • Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

*There’s no real need to watch Curse of the Blair Witch for this order – although you can if you wish.

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The Blair Witch legacy order

Image: ©Lionsgate

With Book of Shadows stalling at the box office, plans for further Blair Witch movies were put on hold until 2016 when Lionsgate released a third movie. The film – simply titled Blair Witch – acted as a direct follow-up to The Blair Witch Project and ignored the events of the second movie.

If you don’t fancy the idea of Book of Shadows, then skip it completely and go straight to this movie.

This order is as follows:

  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)*
  • Blair Witch (2016)

*Again, you don’t really need to watch Curse of the Blair Witch – although, you can if you wish.

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Production order

Image: ©Artisan Entertainment

And finally, if you want to watch everything in production order, then this is the viewing order you require:

  • Curse of the Blair Witch (1999)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
  • Blair Witch (2016)

And now you know.

Should you want to revisit the Blair Witch story, the The Blair Witch Project, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and Blair Witch are all available to purchase digitally from Amazon. You can also dip into the book, Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr.

As for Curse of the Blair Witch, well it is not currently available on DVD, Blu-ray or digital, however it can usually be viewed on YouTube.

So, are you a fan of The Blair Witch Project (or the sequels)? Were you one of the many, many people that watched the original at the cinema? Did you buy into the ‘reality’ of the movie? Share your Blair Witch related stories in the comments section below.

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